Niche tourism eyed for Malaysia’s travel bubble plan

In a bid to attract international travellers back to Malaysia’s shores amid the ongoing pandemic, the Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture (MOTAC) is looking to tap into niche tourism activities in the country’s green zone destinations.

Its minister, Nancy Shukri, said the ministry is working on a concept paper to promote niche tourism activities such as golfing, snorkelling and diving on the country’s islands marked as green zones.

Malaysia keen to tap into niche tourism activities such as golfing, snorkelling and diving for travel bubbles

However, reciprocal green lanes or travel bubbles with other like-minded countries need to be established before Malaysia reopens its green zone destinations to foreign travellers.

“We need to be creative and find new ways of looking at the travel bubbles,” she said, while stressing that there needs to be mutual agreement between governments and standard operating procedures (SOPs) in place for the niche tourism activities identified to ensure the safety of tourists.

The concept paper currently being prepared by the MOTAC will be presented to relevant ministries and government agencies including the Health Ministry, the National Security Council, and the National Disaster Management Agency within the next two weeks.

Welcoming the move, Yap Sook Ling, managing director at Asian Overland Services Tours & Travel, opined that promoting diving and golfing activities would attract high-value travellers to the country.

But at the same time, she stressed, the government should make it compulsory for foreign tourists entering the country to employ the services of registered travel agents to ensure compliance to the SOPs set by the government and strict adherence to the tour itinerary.

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